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James Cameron has been talking up his planned Avatar sequels from the moment the first film became an enormous hit, but the director always had his eye on half a dozen other projects at the same time, and we all learned long ago that nobody can rush James Cameron or tell him what to do. Now either 20th Century Fox has strong-armed him into a deal or Cameron has finally decided his heart's desire; according to Fox's official Twitter account, he will make Avatar 2 and 3 as his next films.
Not only that, but the whole process won't be nearly as protracted this time around. In a follow-up tweet Fox announced that Cameron, "who always viewed AVATAR as creation of new world and mythology" will start writing the film next year and aim to start production near the end of 2011. There's also this, from a more extensive press release over at Deadline:
Cameron will decide if he will shoot the films back-to-back after he completes the scripts, but the release of the first, as yet untitled sequel, is targeted for December 2014, with the third film contemplated for a December 2015 release.
There's not much we know for sure about Avatar 2 beyond what Cameron has hinted at in various public appearances and a handful of Internet rumors, but here's a general rundown of what we're expecting: